There is disquiet in the civil society community in Lagos following the alleged misappropriation of the N10 million memorial fund raised for the burial of late activist and former National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Mr Yinka Odumakin.
Daily Trust reports that following the death of Odumakin on April 3, 2021, the civil society set up a WhatsApp group to galvanise activists towards organising a befitting burial for Odumakin.
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The platform was set up by Veteran Wale Okunniyi, foremost activist, as the Lead Admin with other prominent human rights activists on the group.
Subsequently, a decision was arrived at to raise money for the burial in order to support the Odumakin’s family while the sum of N9.9m was raised.
Among the donors were the Lagos State Government, its Osun counterpart and Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti where donations of N5m, N2.5m and N1m respectively were received.
Other donors included prominent lawyers, Mr Femi Falana, Chief Mike Ozekhome, Barr. Wahab Shittu as well as Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, Chief John Nwodo, among others.
Few days after the burial held in Odumakin’s country home in Ife Moro in Osun State on April 24, members of the platform began to question the funds’ utilisation, accusing the committee of mismanagement.
However, the committee later gave a report detailing how the money was spent on the burial programme.
In the report, the burial committee listed several expenses on various items such as Secretariat Administration/Logistical Services which costs N515,000; Media and Publicity, N1.2m; Food and Drinks, 1.4m; Branded Souvenirs and Editorial, N4.4m; Accommodation/Welfare 577,000, among others.
Daily Trust reports that after the report of the expenditure was presented, some members set up an Accountability committee known as Odumakin Accountability Resolution Committee.
Committee indicted, asked to refund N7.9m
The committee at the end of its assignment indicted the Memorial Planning Committee (MPC) and asked it to refund N7.9m to the Odumakin’s family.
The Accountability Committee has Com. Gbenga Soloki Moses as Chairman and Com. Taiwo Hassan Bello as Secretary with other members including Com Erelu Oodua Tinuade Onaneye; Com Elijah Ajanu Ojo; Com Princess Edo; Com Ras Innovator; Com Bola Olanrewaju; Com Otunba Mark Adesanya and Com Ola Oni jnr.
In its report, the Committee observed several discrepancies in the expenditure report and stated that the sum of N7.9m was unaccounted for.
The report made available to Daily Trust read in parts: “That Messers Wale Okunniyi… and co be held accountable for the sum of N7,995,000 (seven million nine hundred and ninety-five thousand)only unaccounted for by the MPC.”
Curiously, another member on the platform who had initially accused Okunniyi of mismanagement later withdrew her statement, saying she has been reliably informed that “Comrade Wale Okunniyi has been judicious in running the affairs of the Committee for a befitting and glamorous burial for Comrade Yinka Odumakin without blemish.”
When contacted, Okunniyi dismissed the report of the Accountability Committee, saying the members of the committee were ‘sponsored’.
He said the report of the memorial committee has been made public and members were satisfied with the way the money was expended, adding that he has moved on.